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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2001 Oct;91(4):1782-90.

Muscle glycogen depletion and subsequent replenishment affect anaerobic capacity of horses.

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Equine Exercise Physiology Laboratory, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, 601 Tharp St., Columbus, OH 43210, USA.


The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of muscle glycogen depletion and subsequent replenishment on anaerobic capacity of horses. In a blinded crossover study, seven fit horses performed glycogen-depleting exercise on two occasions. Horses were infused after glycogen-depleting exercise with either 6 g/kg body wt of glucose as a 13.5% solution in 0.9% NaCl (Glu) or with 0.9% NaCl (Sal) of equivalent volume. Subsequently, horses performed a high-speed exercise test (120% of maximal rate of oxygen consumption) to estimate maximum accumulated oxygen deficit. Replenishment of muscle glycogen was greater (P < 0.05) in Glu [from 24.7 +/- 7.2 (SE) to 116.5 +/- 7 mmol/kg wet wt before and after infusion, respectively] than in Sal (from 23.4 +/- 7.2 to 47.8 +/- 5.7 mmol/kg wet wt before and after infusion, respectively). Run time to fatigue during the high-speed exercise test (97.3 +/- 8.2 and 70.8 +/- 8.3 s, P < 0.05), maximal accumulated oxygen deficit (105.7 +/- 9.3 and 82.4 +/- 10.3 ml O(2) equivalent/kg, P < 0.05), and blood lactate concentration at the end of the high-speed exercise test (11.1 +/- 1.4 and 9.2 +/- 3.7 mmol/l, P < 0.05) were greater for Glu than for Sal, respectively. We concluded that decreased availability of skeletal muscle glycogen stores diminishes anaerobic power generation and capacity for high-intensity exercise in horses.

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